Terminal facilities (Airport)




10 Kansai Airport, Japan (Arch: Renzo Piano Building Workshop) Sketch of interior of passenger terminal 




The modern terminal is a complex building with many types of accommodation contained within its envelope and has necessarily to provide for high levels of control. Conceptually, there are public (e.g. departure lounge) and private (e.g. offices) areas, as well as secure and unsecure areas. In addition, there are the barriers to movement needed for ticket and non-ticket holding people, as well as immigration controls. The airport in general and terminal in particular is one of the most intensively managed areas from a security point of view. There are barriers to movement, physical and psychological controls, security cameras and spot checks of passengers and airline staff. Architecture is, therefore, a question of both creating space and helping to control it.







Principal function of terminal building
     Facilitates change of transport mode from plane to car, train, bus etc)
     Processes passengers (ticket check-in, customs clearance etc)
     Provides services (shopping, conference etc)
     Groups and batches passengers for air transportation.



The management of security underpins the plan and section of a typical airport terminal. Different levels of the building are used for different passenger flows (arrivals, transit and departures) with controlled cross-over between them. Different levels also allow baggage to be handled and processed effectively. The growth of the multi-level terminal in the 1970s was in response to growing concern over international terrorism, drug trafficking and illegal immigration.




Criteria for effective baggage handling
     Avoid baggage flows crossing passenger flows
     Place baggage sorting alongside apron area
     Avoid turns and level changes
     Keep conveyor slopes below 15"
     Minimize number of handling operations
     Provide for safety and security at each handling stage 


The complexity in section of a modern large terminal (e.g. Kansai in Japan) places particular responsibility on the design of stairs, escalators and lifts. Changing level is a necessity in current airport design and poses special difficulties for travellers with disabilities. For all, however, the means of moving from one floor to the next needs to be as enjoyable and as possible. Consequently, the escalator and lift have become major visual elements in the interior of a typical terminal. They not only move people effectively but provide points of reference in a waymarking sense for passengers. Terminals are complex in plan for many of the same reasons. Although passenger space may account for 60% of the terminal volume, the remaining 40% has to provide space for airline staff, airport staff, and governmental and security staff. Four main stakeholder groups have an interest in the terminal, each needing gathering space, secure rooms and connecting routes (see 11).
     The passengers (lounges, shops etc.).
     Airline companies (ticket offices).
    Airport authority (administrative areas).
    Government (health and immigration control).

Added to this, the essentially public space for the passenger is often surrounded by shops, bars, restaurants and amusement arcades. Reconciling all the different needs is only possible if space planning recognises the inevitability of change and makes adequate provision for it.



11- Heathrow Airport, London Transfer satellite at pier 4A: plan (Arch: Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners



Passenger processing in terminal building
     Airline function
              Ticket check-in
              Baggage handling (part)
              Gate check-in 
     Airport function
              Baggage handling (part)
              Security (part) 
     Government function Immigration control
              Passport control
              Customs control
              Health control
              Security (part) 



Change occurs in the layout of airports terminals in a recognisable and often planned fashion. Different parts of the building are subject to varying levels of usage. Major circulation areas (such as gate corridors) may, therefore, require upgrading more quickly than quieter areas even though the same finishes and furniture have been employed. BAA makes provision for change by entering into long- term 'framework agreements' with manufacturers to ensure that matching components are available well into the future. 



Timescale of facilities adaptation
Staircase, escalators, major routes                               30-50 years
Passenger lounges                                                       20-30 years
Airport offices                                                             15 years
Airline offices                                                              5-1 0 years 
Shops, bars, restaurants                                               3-5 years
Carpets, seats, finishes                                                1-5 years

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